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This piece is laugh out loud funny, and a real shot in the arm to young mothers: I wish I would have known how new babies make all feelings MORE (and this from a girl who was already fairly high on melodrama): more thrill, more love, more anguish, more adoration, more fear, more gratitude, more doubt, more crazy. You may have been an emotionally sturdy professional just a minute ago, but a newborn takes your heart and mind, squishes them into pulp in her fat little baby hands, and turns you into a woman face down in despair over a Subaru commercial. Who is this sloppy woman in the mirror? Good lord, put on some clean pants and get your crap together! It does get easier eventually, but the drama goes from physical exhaustion to mental overload (at times). That said, she's spot on -- you really do enjoy these little ones as bona fide people one day. Such a privilege to ride this roller coaster! Continue reading
Posted yesterday at feminine-genius
From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: The annunciation to Mary happens to a woman, in an insignificant town in half-pagan Galilee, known neither to Josephus nor the Talmud. The entire scene was "unusual for Jewish sensibilities. God reveals himself, where and to whom he wishes." Thus begins a new way, at whose center stands no longer the temple, but the simplicity of Jesus Christ. He is now the true temple, the tent of meeting. The salutation to Mary (Lk 1:28-32) is modeled closely on Zephaniah 3: 14-17: Mary is the daughter Zion addressed there, summoned to " rejoice", in formed that the Lord is coming to her. Her fear is removed, since the Lord is in her midst to save her. Laurentin makes the very beautiful remark on this text: "... As so often, the word of God proves to be a mustard seed.... One understands why Mary was so frightened by this message (Lk 1:29). Her fear comes not from lack of understanding nor from that small-hearted anxiety to which some would like to reduce it. It comes from the trepidation of that encounter with God, that immeasurable joy which can make the most hardened natures quake." In the address of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at feminine-genius
Don't miss this stunning piece by Julie Holland in the NYT, which may signal a slow return of sanity to [some fringy corners?] of the social sciences. It begins: WOMEN are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others. The writer is a psychiatrist, who notes that "at least one in four women in America now takes a psychiatric medication, compared with one in seven men ... This is insane." And MercatorNet's Carolyn Moynihan has written an excellent follow-up, which brings to light the other "pills" that have been used for decades to mask a normal dimension of femininity: What is really interesting in all this is Holland’s assumption that human biology has an ethical meaning: if you feel bad physically or mentally your body is telling you something and you had better listen and perhaps change, not just get... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2015 at feminine-genius
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at feminine-genius
C-Fam is hosting an important panel next week, which will be chaired by local writer and human rights activist Dr Susan Yoshihara. She writes: Among the hundreds of Christians and minorities abducted by Islamic State terrorists are women and girls forced into marriage and sexual slavery. As world leaders fumble to respond to ISIS attacks, another crisis looms – the perilous future of these women and girls and the children they will conceive during captivity. Having researched the topic thoroughly, she is familiar with many historical examples, and since rape as a tool of war is nothing new we know two important facts: such children suffer tremendously because of the circumstances of their conception; and most aid programs do little to help them because they are not technically "survivors" of the conflicts. While tight-knit families and long-standing cultures have their strengths, they rarely welcome those whom they see as "children of the enemy" because of the shame that attaches to them and their mothers. One presenter will offer her own research from Africa: Eunice Apio has been working for more than a decade in Northern Uganda with women abducted by the guerilla group Lord’s Resistance Army and with their children... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at feminine-genius
A group of elderly women were spared by ISIS, and when found later by a group from Aid to the Church in Need, they recounted their story of encounter with the frightening militants. They had been spared for some reason, and that despite their testament of firm faith in the face of death. For four days, they locked themselves in their home, not daring to venture out. “Prayer sustained us,” said Victoria. But they needed food for the body as well as food for the soul and when supplies ran dangerously low they went in search of water and other basics. Inevitably they ran into IS forces. Explaining their situation, they asked for help and to their surprise IS gave them water even after they refused a request to abandon their faith. A few days later, IS found them in their homes and rounded them up at St Barbara’s shrine just on the edge of Caramles. There were about a dozen of them there, the last remaining Christian inhabitants of the village. “You must convert,” IS forces told them. “Our faith can promise you paradise,” they added. Victoria and Gazella responded: “We believe that if we show love and kindness,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at feminine-genius
The deadline is fast approaching for a Day of Reflection at Saint Mary's parish in Ridgefield, CT. Details are here. Should be a lovely day, and you could get some serious spring cleaning done early! Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at feminine-genius
... on men, for a change! Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at feminine-genius
For twenty years, I've stuck to the topic of authentic femininity, but I've branched out a little. This fine group asked for an interview, and the old girl had a few thoughts about men. Find Chatty Cathy here! Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at feminine-genius
The next time you think, "Darn it--kids these days!" take a moment to remember this outstanding young lady in Alaska: In addition to the selfless act of sharing her child through adoption, 19-year-old Kaleena Pysher has succeeded in providing her baby milk, even though the adoptive parents live out of state. She’s also prevailed despite the complex feelings of separation, knowing her gift is one of love. “I know in my heart and my mind this is the best thing,” Pysher said told Alaska Dispatch News. It sounds like abortion was never an option, and that pumping around the clock (every two hours for six weeks!) was something she knew was in the child's best interest. Her motivation for donating her breast milk for her daughter is the same as her reason for choosing adoption. “I want her to have the best,” said Pysher. Pysher, who gave birth in November, bonded with her baby during pregnancy, singing and reading to her. Giving birth went well for Pysher too. “As soon as she came out, they plopped her on my chest,” she said. “She was crying. I was just so happy.” Pysher had learned about the benefits of breastfeeding through a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at feminine-genius
Is it possible that we could reach out to non-believers, to feminists, to bring to light the horrors of FGM? This video is excellent in showing the faces -- you owe it to them to just look at the photos of the young girls as they suffer this horrific abuse. That said, I take issue with the way that this is linked to generic patriarchy. Remember the distinct difference between the Trinitarian God and Allah, between God the Father and Allah who is unknowable and Not-Father, between those who honour the gifts and fundamental equality of women and those who don't. There are patriarchies, and there are patriarchies. Those that mirror the Fatherhood of a loving God are authentic--and quite different from all the rest! Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at feminine-genius
Not everyone shrugs his shoulders and looks the other way: Jim Guell, 73, and a retired insurance broker, lives in a mobile home park north of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, directly across Highway 41 from where a series of billboards have been advertising competing local adult stores. Six billboards, three each, for the sex shops Lion’s Den and Xcite are in close proximity in a string of eight billboards on the highway. "I got tired of seeing those advertisements, those boards, every time I came home," Guell, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal association, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I look out the window of my home and they're lit at night and I thought, I've got to combat this some way." He got the ball rolling, talked up the issue, passed the hat, and invited others to join the fight. Now there are competing messages --and not just among the smut vendors: So the line of messages on the eight 48-by-14-foot signs, approximately 500 feet from each other within two-thirds of a mile, goes like this: Horicon bank, Lion’s Den Adult Superstore, “Got God?”, “What would Jesus say about pornography?/Porn Destroys Love,” Lion’s Den Adult... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2015 at feminine-genius
Lisa Mladinich has put together a wonderful piece at Patheos. It's an excellent review of the book, Guiding your Children Through Grief, and she illustrates it with a very helpful example from her how family--reminding us that grief results from more than the short list of expected events. Mothers, especially, should be aware of this resource (and another mentioned in the comment section) and perhaps familiarise themselves with the process, even if tragedy hasn't struck. It might provide a good "checklist" for our own lives, what was handled well, and where there may be some fragile spots in our own journeys. It's never to late to mind and mend! Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2015 at feminine-genius
Virgin-born, we bow before you: Blessed was the womb that bore you; Mary, Mother meek and mild, Blessed was she in her Child. Blessed was the breast that fed you; Blessed was the hand that led you; Blessed was the parent’s eye That watched your slumbering infancy. Blessed she by all creation, Who brought forth the world’s salvation, And blessed they, forever blest, Who love you most and serve you best. Virgin-born, we bow before you; Blessed was the womb that bore you; Mary, Mother meek and mild, Blessed was she in her Child [from the Geneva Psalter]. Prayers, dear readers. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2015 at feminine-genius
All rape is reprehensible, and yet there's something about the element of hypocrisy in the Cosby story that adds to the indignity -- and the problem is two-fold. First. there is the toxicity of our depraved celebrity culture; and second, the unfortunate damage cast upon fatherhood, which cannot avoid taking the hit in this unfolding saga, because the story involves one of the few television shows that highlighted a strong, dedicated, and likeable dad. First, we must remember that we're at the stage of allegations: Comedian Bill Cosby spoke out against a wave of sexual assault allegations but told a Florida publication he does not have to "answer to innuendos." Cosby, 77, spoke to the newspaper Florida Today on Friday, before performing his comedy routine at a theater in Melbourne, Florida. The comedian has refused to address questions about allegations made by a number of women who said he forced himself on them sexually, with some accusing him of drugging them first. Cosby received a standing ovation at the start of his 90-minute show in Melbourne. True enough, his point is valid, but the fact that presently the number of women stands at sixteen gives one pause, and the consistency... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at feminine-genius
Beautiful quote herein: "One cannot love without suffering, or suffer without love" (Gianna Beretta Molla). showing "an alternative Gospel way of compelling beauty" -- Saint Gianna, pray for us! Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at feminine-genius
If the world has you down, take a few minutes at least to watch the first of these Humanum videos: There are six in all (found here) -- beautifully written, compellingly filmed, and grounded in eternal truths. If we simply live this reality, all will be well. Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at feminine-genius
Today is the feast of my patron saint, Saint Margaret of Scotland. Margaret was the daughter of King Edward the Exile of England. After her father's death, she fled from England; she was received by Malcolm III of Scotland, who later married her. As queen, Margaret convoked a synod which made regulations concerning the Lenten fast, Easter Communion, and marriage laws. She founded several churches, and was constantly engaged in prayer and pious practices. When I converted to the Church in 1984, I pored over a mini Butler to find just the right saint. Finally, I settled on this woman for a few reasons: she was lay, she had many children, and she died shortly after her husband (why stick around?). She also lived in a different land from where she was born. Small point, but nostalgically important then (and still). When the time came for my entrance into the Church, I announced I had chosen my "name," at which the priest receiving me was perplexed. "We don't do that any more," was his less-than-gracious reply. Remember, this was pre-RCIA and "off-season." (I was slipping into the Church in February because I wanted to have everything completed before my wedding.)... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2014 at feminine-genius
Pia de Solenni has brought to light a very important story, in which the Catholic bishops of Kenya have found evidence that a tetanus vaccine -- administered according to some very unusual protocols -- has been laced with a contraceptive agent, HCG. Both the Kenyan governement and the World Health Organisation deny the allegations, but MaterCare International has corroborated the evidence: Our concern and the subject of this discussion is the WHO/UNICEF sponsored tetanus immunization campaign launched last year in October ostensibly to eradicate neonatal tetanus. It is targeted at girls and women between the ages of 14 – 49 (child bearing age) and in 60 specific districts spread all around the country. The tetanus vaccine being used in this campaign has been imported into the country specifically for this purpose and bears a different batch number from the regular TT. So far, 3 doses have been given – the first in October 2013, the second in March 2014 and the third in October 2014. It is highly possible that there are two more doses to go. Giving five doses of tetanus vaccination every 6 months is not usual or the recommended regime for tetanus vaccination. The only time tetanus... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at feminine-genius
David Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) has always struck me as a thoughtful writer, and this piece is no exception. I'll pull out a few lines as teasers, lines which he backs up with excellent examples: The professional feminist is not there to help women, but to promote the agenda of the institutional left... The institutional left can’t call out Islam for sexism, homophobia and racism because it has already inducted it into its political coalition... Modern feminism is defined by talking non-stop about the things that don’t matter to avoid talking about the things that do... it frantically stirs up micro-controversies that are irrelevant to 99.99% of women... The last election cycle had reduced feminism to subsidized birth control. This cycle wiped it off the map entirely. While this last remark is true in one sense, as long as we subsidise Planned Parenthood, enable dependency, discourage marriage, and allow promiscuity to flourish unchecked in the media, feminism won't be dead. And it's a given that since they have few children of their own, they must always play the parasite with the children of others. As for the "culture of rape," yes it's true that the sexual left wants to fight... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2014 at feminine-genius
This is a view of the cupola of the Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena, the only basilica in Spain to have been dedicated by a pope (Saint John Paul II, in 1993). Our Lady under this title is the patroness of Madrid, and today is their patronal feast. There is also a miraculous story that accompanies the Church: Legend has it that in the 8th century, when the Moors invaded the fortress where Madrid now stands, the people hid an image of the Virgin in the city walls, and only when the city was reconquered in the 15th century did a wall crumble to reveal her presence once again. Some versions suggest that the legendary el Cid found the image in the wall, and the Virgen helped him to retake the city. How beautiful is the cathedral, even if you don't speak Spanish, enjoy the imagery! Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at feminine-genius
Jen Fulwiler and I are both converts, and for some reason this particular week, we both referenced our grandmothers as reminders of how the lives of women have changed -- and not for the better. In her reflection on Humanae Vitae, she notes: I pulled up another stack of glossy rags and pushed them around my bed so that I could see all the covers at once. Something I had always wondered, but had never articulated, came to the forefront of my mind: When, exactly, did the standard of beauty become a dictate that we must all look like Barbie dolls? When I saw pictures of my ancestors, the women always looked beautiful, but in a way that didn’t overwhelm the senses with their physical beauty alone. The faded photographs of my grandmothers and their grandmothers showed clothing styles that left some attention for their faces, that didn’t detract from the subtleties of their expressions. The draping of the material smoothed over details, so that a few extra pounds could be smoothed into graceful curves. Now, a century and a half later, society says a woman can hardly consider herself truly beautiful without a tight abdomen, slender physique, wrinkle-free face... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2014 at feminine-genius
I don't know much about this wrongful conviction, other than what was in the story, but of course the forgiveness angle was obvious. A mother of three was jailed for the murder of a homeless man, on the testimony of a [now deceased] woman with a penchant for lying. The actual murderers were eventual found, and now, 17 years after the conviction, Susan Mellen has been reunited with her family. "I'm a free woman now. Let me do the running man," she said, and did a few jogging dance steps before the microphones. She joked and beamed but also described her imprisonment as "cruel punishment." "I would cry every night" in prison, Mellen said, but never lost faith and even wrote "freedom" on the bottom of her tennis shoes "because I knew I was going to walk free one day." Mellen said she held no ill will against those who put her behind bars. "No, no, I always forgave my enemies," she said. "Even your haters, you have to forgive them and sometimes you have to thank them because they bring you closer to God." Mellen said she planned to go to dinner with her family and wanted to eat... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2014 at feminine-genius
This is the most helpful address I've seen so far at the Synod: Arturo and Hermelinda As Zamberline, married for 41 years with three children, addressed the Synod during the morning session Oct. 9. The designated subject for the session was the "pastoral challenges concerning an openness to life." "We must admit without fear that many Catholic couples, even those who seek to live their marriage seriously, do not feel obligated to use only the natural methods" of birth control condoned by the Church, said the Zamberlines, leaders in their country of an international Catholic movement, Teams of Our Lady. "We must add that generally they are not questioned by their confessors" on the subject. The Zamberlines, who are participating in the Synod as non-voting auditors, said the "rhythm of life" today makes it difficult to find time to learn natural methods of family planning, which they said have acquired an "unjust reputation of being unreliable," because they are badly explained and thus badly practised. "The great majority of couples do not reject the use of contraceptive methods. In general, they do not consider them a moral problem," the Zamberlines said. The Brazilian couple concluded with an appeal to the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2014 at feminine-genius